I've got an existing circuit of outdoor receptacles, and only one of those receptacles is controlled by a light switch. I want to add another receptacle, so that it's also controlled by the same light switch.

How would I go about doing that? I've made my best attempt at diagramming this out: enter image description here

  • 1
    Well done! Having the drawing made this easy to answer, most people try to describe it and it just doesn't work.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 13, 2020 at 16:40

1 Answer 1



Plug 1 currently has 3 wires:

  • White neutral back to the panel
  • White neutral to Plug 2
  • Black switched hot to the switch

Run a cable (black/white) from Plug 1 to New Plug.

Add a white pigtail (short wire) and connect one end to both existing neutral wires and to the white wire going to New Plug. Connect the other end to one of the existing neutral screws (doesn't matter which one, except see GFCI issue below) on Plug 1.

Add a black pigtail and connect one end to the existing switched hot and to the black wire going to New Plug. Connect the other end to the existing hot screw on Plug 1.

New Plug gets black on the hot screw and white on the neutral screw. The usual color-coding on receptacles is Black/Hot to Brass and White/Neutral to Silver.


All new outdoor receptacles require GFCI. If you already have GFCI "upstream" (either as part of the circuit breaker or at an inside receptacle that is prior to the first outdoor receptacle) then you don't have to do anything special.

If you do not already have GFCI then you need to add it. The catch is that with your existing wiring scheme, you need to add it either at the source (somewhere inside) or at both Plug 1 and Plug 2. New Plug gets protected by Plug 1, provided it is wired correctly, which can get complicated so ask a new question if needed.

Note also that GFCI/receptacle combinations placed outside are likely to not last as long as GFCI/receptacle combinations (or GFCI/circuit breaker) placed inside, due to weather.

Speaking of weather, all outside receptacles should be weather resistant and also include an in-use cover.

  • Thanks for the quick response. Follow up questions: 1. There's a black wire from the switch to one of the slots on Plug 1. When I do the black pigtail, do I plug the other end into the 2nd slot in Plug 1? 2. I actually have a GFCI outlet that's "in front" of Plug 1. Does that mean I don't need GFCI outlets for the remaining outlets on the circuit?
    – Walt Reed
    Oct 13, 2020 at 18:45
  • Don't use the slots! (aka "backstabs"). Use the screws on the sides. Pull the black wire out of the slot on plug 1, connect it to the (new) pigtail and connect the pigtail to one of the brass screws on plug 1. If GFCI is in the land called "source" then you should be OK, but there is testing (either with a tester or by checking the wiring) that you can do to confirm it. Oct 13, 2020 at 21:37

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